SEO is characterized by constant change. Rapid adoption of mobile devices for Internet use is playing a big role in that.
To keep up with the way Google ranks websites and how users look for information, it's important for your company to implement evolving SEO strategies for 2015.
We were introduced to Google Pigeon in 2014, and that had substantial effects on SEO. Google Pigeon adjusted the algorithm the search giant had been using to rank websites to include variables that closely relate to local search results and more relevant information for users.
In addition to the Pigeon updates, Google made 13 other significant algorithm changes in 2014. These involved everything from preventing digital piracy to preventing link manipulation and improving SEO.
You can expect Google to remain vigilant and change its algorithms in further response to the way online users interact in 2015.
SEO and content marketing were virtually identical in 2014. This coming year, marketers may see a division between the two, with content marketing becoming the main driver of rankings.
SEO will likely evolve toward more technical aspects of driving rankings, with greater focus on keyword placement and meta tags. Look for more focus
on strategic keyword implementation: Only relevant content will be displayed, and algorithms will be updated to better understand the language browsers are using when they search for content.
Content may turn out to be the most vital element of SEO in 2015. A representative from Magicdust.com.au
describes the focus on content as "the only way to take care of clients' online needs in a meaningful way that has the added bonus of improving search engine rankings."
Even more than in 2014, businesses will need to focus on providing relevant and meaningful content for users to stay on the search engine map. Using tactics such as link building and keyword-dense content for the sole purpose of driving more traffic to your site will not be rewarded; they may even detract from your site ranking in the future.
Instead, focus on providing quality information for your target market without the aim of improving search engine rankings.
Mobile integration and responsive web design will be an integral part of your SEO in the near future. Businesses that have skated by with a traditional web presence in the past will be forced to convert to mobile or suffer the consequences in lower rankings and falling traffic.
Companies will need to rethink
websites that can be viewed quickly and easily on an ever-increasing number of mobile devices. Even TVs, watches, and glasses or goggles will be important to factor into your evolving mobile response strategy.
An all-inclusive URL is the best way to approach multimedia viewing. Separate mobile sites can be cumbersome and leave out information a user might expect to have.
Social media was the buzz of 2014. Campaigns were driven by shares, tweets and retweets, and likes. You can expect to see even more integration of content marketing with social media sites in 2015, as companies use social media to drive SEO strategies.
Next year might also see some Google algorithm adjustments to focus more on social media for website rankings. Twitter and Facebook will remain social media giants, but Google+'s long-term fate remains unclear.
The ability of your website to load quickly -- that is, in less than 3 seconds -- was a hallmark of usability in 2014. Slower websites are likely to be tossed aside because the attention span of the average Internet user is so short.
Navigation should also be part of a comprehensive SEO strategy in 2015. Streamlined navigation will play a more prominent role than page redirections that are cumbersome for users. Optimize your site by designing one-page navigation and scaling down the use of graphics that slow down your site speeds.
Focus on ROI
While 2014 was dominated by a focus on the keywords in content, 2015 promises greater emphasis on ROI. That's the only real determining factor in a campaign, after all.
Look for SEO companies and teams to reorient their reports so they concentrate on the financial results of a campaign, rather than an arbitrary rank for number of clicks that may have no impact on the company's bottom line.
The Transformation of links
Links were once a big focus of SEO strategies. Building links that generated traffic to a site was a fundamental of SEO in 2014.
Implied links may become more important than direct links in 2015. Implied links mention a brand or cite a reference without directly linking to it. The practice is subtle, but encourages brand searches
that are almost 100% meaningful.
A marketer could easily scheme for higher search results with link building, but a brand mention will hardly ever carry a direct agenda. Metrics for measuring implied links will likely join comprehensive SEO strategy in 2015.
December 22, 2014
Heading into 2015
There's a need to reboot, revamp, and rethink old SEO strategies as we approach 2015. Businesses will do well to think first of content and connectivity with users, and user friendliness.
Positive SEO growth will likely come as the result of a focus on online relationships rather than implementing technical and cumbersome strategies. In some ways, a concentration on SEO in the past might even hurt a firm's SEO in the future.
The year 2015 could see your business penalized for attempting the same tricks that were rewarded in past years. Integrate your SEO with all the other aspects of marketing to see the best, natural results in the coming year.
Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.